Bikes, More Bikes!

So, I live in one of the most polluted cities in Europe but last week I got the chance to see how they do things in Denmark. In two words, they bike. Half of Copenhagen's population bikes and let me tell you, it affects the air quality in a major way. I don't remember seeing a single EV but bikes? Thousands. Bike lanes are sometimes wider than sidewalks. Plus it's healthier. Why can't we all bike in inner cities? Of course, it's not a universal solution but I do think people should bike more everywhere. 

 

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16 minutes ago, Marina Schwarz said:

So, I live in one of the most polluted cities in Europe but last week I got the chance to see how they do things in Denmark. In two words, they bike. Half of Copenhagen's population bikes and let me tell you, it affects the air quality in a major way. I don't remember seeing a single EV but bikes? Thousands. Bike lanes are sometimes wider than sidewalks. Plus it's healthier. Why can't we all bike in inner cities? Of course, it's not a universal solution but I do think people should bike more everywhere. 

 

As you say not a universal solution.

Where I used to live in London they spent £50 million on a cycling scheme that was used by about 12 people an hour. Those people were generally able bodied and seemed to all look like early retirees.

In the same location the congestion was horrendous made worse by the narrowing of the roads to put in the cycle 'motorways'.  The buses were rammed like sardine tins with mums / dads with kids going to school, commuters for whom cycling isn't an option, the elderly, and the disabled. IMO that money would have been better spent building a middle of the road tidal flow lane for buses (and emergency vehicles) which would switch direction at a certain time each day.

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It certainly takes a little reason and logic to make it work, yep.

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Why do you think it worked in Copenhagen and not in London?

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Just now, BillKidd said:

Why do you think it worked in Copenhagen and not in London?

Commute distances?

I'm not fundamentally against cycle lanes but money is finite and my view is that the £50m would have been better spent providing transport means useable by all rather than a small subset of the community.

Personally I used the bus to drop my son off at Nursery and then get to the nearest station to get to work in central London. The distances were too far to walk and far too far for me to cycle into central London.

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2 hours ago, Marina Schwarz said:

So, I live in one of the most polluted cities in Europe but last week I got the chance to see how they do things in Denmark. In two words, they bike. Half of Copenhagen's population bikes and let me tell you, it affects the air quality in a major way. I don't remember seeing a single EV but bikes? Thousands. Bike lanes are sometimes wider than sidewalks. Plus it's healthier. Why can't we all bike in inner cities? Of course, it's not a universal solution but I do think people should bike more everywhere. 

 

When I first came to Saigon, Vietnam (2000) (or it might have been 1999, I cant remember without checking my diary), it was all bikes here and a few motorbikes. First thing in the morning there were 5000 schoolboys, all with red kerchiefs. 15 minutes later it was 5000 schoolgirls, all in white* Ao Dai. (In both cases it might have been 5001 or 2). In 2005 there were hordes of motorbikes like shoals of buzzing fish. Now, Saigon is often virtually gridlocked with cars and motorbikes. Pollution is out of control, but everyone has car now.

Riding a bike is now dangerous except on the quietest of roads.

Pity!

* Some moms didn't use persil though.

 

 

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That's what I'd call degradation. Sad. But I guess understandable.

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So, if you don't mind, we can take the shared bicycle initiative in cities to its extreme.  China tried the shared bike scheme with results that shock even the casual observer.

There is a video here from ABC's Foreign Correspondent that I highly recommend you expand to full size on your screens to get a better perspective.  The bicycle portion begins at about the 00:33 second point.  The rest of the video report is about China's waste challenges.  Who would have thought such a scheme would fail in China?  China has some of the widest city avenues in the world, all over China.

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2 hours ago, Dan Warnick said:

So, if you don't mind, we can take the shared bicycle initiative in cities to its extreme.  China tried the shared bike scheme with results that shock even the casual observer.

There is a video here from ABC's Foreign Correspondent that I highly recommend you expand to full size on your screens to get a better perspective.  The bicycle portion begins at about the 00:33 second point.  The rest of the video report is about China's waste challenges.  Who would have thought such a scheme would fail in China?  China has some of the widest city avenues in the world, all over China.

oh, yikes. That's not great planning. Bicycle sharing just sounds like a no-go. "sharing" anything is a no-go. It's 2018. We've been spoiled for far too long to start to be inconvenienced now. 

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22 minutes ago, Rodent said:

oh, yikes. That's not great planning. Bicycle sharing just sounds like a no-go. "sharing" anything is a no-go. It's 2018. We've been spoiled for far too long to start to be inconvenienced now. 

we got a major cycling 'community 'share scheme going in London. Cycle to station. Lock in station secure storage. Return at end of day to find bike stolen. Still the rail operators are happy to provide you with a CCTV film of the person who nicked your bike. Police do feck all. 

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2 hours ago, Rodent said:

"sharing" anything is a no-go. 

Sharing is a huge part of the future, thing Uber, Link, etc.. Pay per use. In theory far more efficient use of resources. Especially in urban environments.

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Amsterdam is a another good example - the thing here is that distances are much smaller and that both Amsterdam and Copenhagen are cities with historically less cars. In most US cities this simply won't work as distances are too big and there ain't such a thing as a cycling culture...

Next to that, here in Mexico City we have several bike sharing plans, but you need to be tired of life or a cycling crack to jump on one of those as most drivers, taxis and buses don't pay attention to cyclists at all...

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1 hour ago, TomTom said:

Next to that, here in Mexico City we have several bike sharing plans, but you need to be tired of life ...

bwahahaha

this is how I envision it going where I live.

1077289_10203334433781112_1916984864_o (1).jpg

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53 minutes ago, Rodent said:

bwahahaha

this is how I envision it going where I live.

1077289_10203334433781112_1916984864_o (1).jpg

Rodi, your Town Manager needs to buy a bigger snow plow!  (Actually, a rotary snowthrower would do the job just fine.  Try a machine built by Sicard, the original inventors and builders of those monsters.  Can throw 5,000 tons of snow an hour!).

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4 hours ago, NickW said:

we got a major cycling 'community 'share scheme going in London. Cycle to station. Lock in station secure storage. Return at end of day to find bike stolen. Still the rail operators are happy to provide you with a CCTV film of the person who nicked your bike. Police do feck all. 

I was just down in Manhattan (New York) and was amazed to see that, starting with a large bike rack of perhaps 100 right across the street from Grand Central Station  (Park Ave. at 42nd street), you could walk over (assuming you have this Plan with a five-digit entry code), punch in a code, and pull out an electric bike from the self-locking rack.  Now ride to the destination point, there are receiving racks scattered about the City, plug in the bike into a slot, it locks up and then (obviously) charges your credit card for the minutes of the rental.  So you have these bikes in constant rental movement, costing very little, and zero theft issues, the company doing the renting worries about that.  However, the locking is quite secure, and there are policemen everywhere keeping an eye on it.  The renters are all the "young professionals" that want fast mobility, are not going to pay for taxis that are jammed up interminably in Manhattan immobile traffic, and don't want to have the hassle of owning. 

The one disadvantage I saw was that the casual visitor to NYC could not get on board, you have to have that account set up and that access code to punch in.  However, for the city dweller and rail commuter coming into town, it sure beats walking in that infernal NYC heat!  I had to walk some 38 blocks that day and it was easily 96 degrees F and 99% humidity, I was totally beat. A fast electric bike would have been a dream. 

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16 hours ago, Marina Schwarz said:

.....Why can't we all bike in inner cities?.....

 

The Danes & the Dutch included cycling as an integral component to their urban planning, almost guaranteeing success; whereas cities like London simply implemented a series of 1/2 measures that amounted to after-thoughts...doing neither the motorists nor the cyclists any justice. Planning must be done ground-up, or the chances for success diminish greatly.

As an aside: In Orange County, California, the on-road & off-road bike paths are quite generous and encourage bicycle use. Despite this, they are not crowded. I know this how?  I commuted 9.8 miles one way for 3 years, 8.3 miles one way for 2 years, and 13.8 miles one way for 4 years. Then I had to commute by airplane for 4 1/2  years and the bike went into mothballs. My final 16 years of work I commuted a mere 3.2 miles one way, albeit sharing the road with cars...and the job was great as well. Now retired, I go nearly everywhere on my roadbike; & pushing 58, my daughter says I'm in better shape than her 34 yr old boyfriend. Ironically, his dad is a cyclist too!

 

 

 

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@Rodent, this looks like a GREAT workout routine. I really don't understand what you dislike about it.

8 minutes ago, Minimalist said:

Planning must be done ground-up, or the chances for success diminish greatly.

 

 

Amen to that.

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12 hours ago, Rodent said:

oh, yikes. That's not great planning. Bicycle sharing just sounds like a no-go. "sharing" anything is a no-go. It's 2018. We've been spoiled for far too long to start to be inconvenienced now. 

Hire Shops will never catch on.

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9 hours ago, Minimalist said:

The Danes & the Dutch included cycling as an integral component to their urban planning, almost guaranteeing success; whereas cities like London simply implemented a series of 1/2 measures that amounted to after-thoughts...doing neither the motorists nor the cyclists any justice. Planning must be done ground-up, or the chances for success diminish greatly.

As an aside: In Orange County, California, the on-road & off-road bike paths are quite generous and encourage bicycle use. Despite this, they are not crowded. I know this how?  I commuted 9.8 miles one way for 3 years, 8.3 miles one way for 2 years, and 13.8 miles one way for 4 years. Then I had to commute by airplane for 4 1/2  years and the bike went into mothballs. My final 16 years of work I commuted a mere 3.2 miles one way, albeit sharing the road with cars...and the job was great as well. Now retired, I go nearly everywhere on my roadbike; & pushing 58, my daughter says I'm in better shape than her 34 yr old boyfriend. Ironically, his dad is a cyclist too!

 

 

 

Cycling is the best form of commute, no doubt. The weather is secondary, but you need a safe infrastructure: Sharing the road with texters is not an option. I did 20 miles one way when working in Holland, along a canal on a nice road on a race bike in full race gear. I would do the same in Houston if I could. Best exercise imaginable.

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(edited)

On 9/3/2018 at 6:42 PM, BillKidd said:

Why do you think it worked in Copenhagen and not in London?

That is because of population density and commute distance. High population density needs increased seed. Slow cyclers irritating everyone by going slow is not an option. Also, rain fall, luggage like laptops etc make things difficult. Imagine going shopping on a cycle. Also, dropping school kids is difficult on cycle. Double riding cycles is a nightmare

 

On 9/3/2018 at 11:03 PM, Dan Warnick said:

So, if you don't mind, we can take the shared bicycle initiative in cities to its extreme.  China tried the shared bike scheme with results that shock even the casual observer.

There is a video here from ABC's Foreign Correspondent that I highly recommend you expand to full size on your screens to get a better perspective.  The bicycle portion begins at about the 00:33 second point.  The rest of the video report is about China's waste challenges.  Who would have thought such a scheme would fail in China?  China has some of the widest city avenues in the world, all over China.

Double riding 2 people of 80kg each will break your back. You want to go for few kilometers in double riding? Are you nuts? Sharing is a big no in cycle.

 

If you are speaking of rented cycles, there are some hygiene issues:

Image result for nude cyclist

 

You really don't want someone riding your cycle like this, do you? Even if it not as bad, there are still many issues to share cycles. Cycles are quite cheap and costs about $50-70$ for geared cycles in India. I believe the rate is quite similar elsewhere too. If not, you could simply import the cycles from India for some extra shipping cost. There is no reason to share

Edited by Bhimsen Pachawry

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3 minutes ago, Bhimsen Pachawry said:

If you are speaking of rented cycles, there are some hygiene issues:

Image result for nude cyclist

 

You really don't want someone riding your cycle like this, do you?

Alright, you've got me (BTW, how did you get my picture?!?).  I mean, you've got me because now I get it, we need more government regulations.  Ugh!  There, I've said it:  No bare butts on the rentals!

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On 9/4/2018 at 6:51 AM, Robert Ziegler said:

Cycling is the best form of commute, no doubt. The weather is secondary, but you need a safe infrastructure: Sharing the road with texters is not an option. I did 20 miles one way when working in Holland, along a canal on a nice road on a race bike in full race gear. I would do the same in Houston if I could. Best exercise imaginable.

That's a right respectable commute, so good on you, Mate!

If you think Houston is bad, I live in Acapulco a few months of the year...even pre-dawn, it's like bike riding during the Apocalypse. If the inebriated taxi drivers don't get you, a stray billet just might. It takes a long ride through exhaust clouds from poorly maintained vehicles to get to any clear air. That most of the roads I use are along the beach is especially disconcerting. My dad used to say, "I'll be gone before this planet really goes to the s#i++er, so good luck, Son!"

---------------------------------------

UPDATE: After further perusing of the Interwebs, I found the following news item on the new London cycling paths, story begins @ 1:25:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpjtT0jost4

If the video is genuine, it appears the earlier mention of lack of ridership may have been inaccurate, dated, or referring to elsewhere. All I know  is, the bike paths I use in SoCAL are never as crowded as those depicted in the video. Not even close.

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18 hours ago, Minimalist said:

That's a right respectable commute, so good on you, Mate!

---------------------------------------

UPDATE: After further perusing of the Interwebs, I found the following news item on the new London cycling paths, story begins @ 1:25:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpjtT0jost4

If the video is genuine, it appears the earlier mention of lack of ridership may have been inaccurate, dated, or referring to elsewhere. All I know  is, the bike paths I use in SoCAL are never as crowded as those depicted in the video. Not even close.

These commutes are nothing compared to my mom in Holland in winter 1944.  With no transport fuel (that all went to the German war effort long ago) she was left to the traditional Dutch means of personal transport - a pair of skates.  She would get up long before dawn, break up the ice in the wash basin, dress warmly, and, hauling a backpack with potatoes or firewood or whatever else could be traded in the City, strap on a pair of skates and skate to work in the dark down the frozen canals. It was 47 km each way  (29 miles to you English).  At the end of the day, go back home another 47 km, - and then do it all over again the next day. 

And now you know why the Dutch women's team wins those Olympic distance skating events.  Practice. 

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(edited)

On 9/5/2018 at 8:35 AM, Bhimsen Pachawry said:

That is because of population density and commute distance. High population density needs increased seed. Slow cyclers irritating everyone by going slow is not an option. Also, rain fall, luggage like laptops etc make things difficult. Imagine going shopping on a cycle. Also, dropping school kids is difficult on cycle. Double riding cycles is a nightmare

 

Double riding 2 people of 80kg each will break your back. You want to go for few kilometers in double riding? Are you nuts? Sharing is a big no in cycle.

 

 

Riding double?  How about riding with five kids?  Check it out:

image.png.10c758604f1cca976fe9c7349613abbe.png

Now, if you want to get serious about hauling stuff, try this (OK, he's Dutch, so you have to make allowances for insanity, it is a congenital national defect):

image.png.4c6a6c0910550006f9d938270c38cc7e.png

And here is Dan, headed for his binger:

image.png.24f8524e021ff1097ecb2138f6f6b7b6.png

 

OK, so if you want to build some serious separated bike pathways, then you can go whole-hog, as the Dutch did in Eindhoven.  Ya gotta love the separated, elevated "bovenring," where the cyclists get to majestically ride over the traffic:

image.png.58c543f0cebee9f4e6b5c4e6f14149be.png

God Save the King!

 

image.png

image.png

Edited by Jan van Eck
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I have commuted by bicycle in several cities under various  climates & circumstances.  There are cases where it makes sense.  E.g. college campuses where no one expects you to look professional and foot traffic is crazy, inner cities with major traffic problems, and select small towns where you can live close to work. 

That said, it's more difficult than it looks.  Bicycles are not as reliable as cars; dealing with flat tires alone is a major pain.  Rain not only requires you to have a full-body rain suit, but any lingering wetness or puddles causes the bike to throw dirt all over your clothes.  The bicycle seat will destroy pants; expensive, fragile dress pants are out of the question.  You sweat when it's hot, you freeze when it's cold, you have to have special clothing & equipment for these scenarios, etc. 

More importantly, it's stressful.  You're a 150-200lb commuter on a road full of 4,000lb vehicles.  If you get hit, it's game over.  It's also noisy, other commuters don't know what to do around you, you get to breathe all the exhaust, you may get covered in bugs... it's just not pleasant.  If you're a working professional who needs to be at the top of his game, a stressful bicycle commute puts you at a noticeable disadvantage. 

It also won't save you that much money.  You still need a car for longer trips, which means you're paying licensing, registration, insurance, regular maintenance, and capital costs.  When electric vehicles become cheap, it could be cheaper to own a single electric vehicle than to own any vehicle + bicycle. 

So yes, some people can use bicycles, but in developed nations where we can afford better, these cases are the exception rather than the norm.  There's a reason people use cars. 

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